Thursday, August 23, 2007

picture this

A momentary interruption of Movie Week to say that I've been sitting here the last few hours reading the latest by Sven Birkerts (Reading Life: Books for the Ages) and as I have, the first of eight buds on my rugged spider orchid opened right up in front of me, the sepals dropping down like two little elf legs.

I've had orchids for years, but I guess I've never sat still in front of them. They've always been tucked into some corner of misty, indirect, southerly light. In my new, compact place, however, they're front and center. And as I watch this growth, it's like I'm getting a condensed, close-in version of a calving ice floe, the spectacular miniaturized.

I read fifty pages, one foot dropped. Looked up twenty later, the next was down. And the flower is caught blooming, petals bending out but still sticky over the anther, like the tip of the tiniest vajra. And in his book, among the many glittery slivers, one phrase Sven used, unusually showy for his style but thus ideal for my adaptive moment, got the enchantment of the flower's uneven unfolding just right: "erratic and operatic, and errantly erotic."

Now THAT's art for all occasions.